YREKA, Calif. — Wednesday was the very first day of the 2018-2019 school year for the Yreka Union School District and kids were excited to get the year rolling. At 8:23 on the dot Wednesday morning, Jackson Street School in Yreka was full of kids ready to start their new school year.
"This year is going to be a new year," said 5th grader Justin French.
“I'm pretty much looking forward to seeing my friends and being able to reunite with them," added fellow 5th grader Sayballee Kincade.
Parents are ready to have their students back in the books.
"I'm glad. It's time for him to get busy. It’s going to be a good year for him," Justin’s mother, Cindy Baudek said.
About one month ago, Jackson Street School was a safe place for Klamathon Fire evacuees to stay as they waited to return to Hornbrook. Wednesday morning, there was no sign the school housed the emergency shelter. For some, this year will be a brand new start. It was 8th grader Avery Cash's first day ever at Jackson Street School.
"I just transferred here from another school. I'm going to come here to play basketball with my friends. We've been playing basketball together since we were in 3rd grade. So I'm coming to play basketball and hopefully be the best, undefeated," she said.
Some were already ready for the school year to be over before they walked in the door. NewsWatch 12 asked one 5th grader what he was looking forward to this school year.
“A new classroom and then the end of it," Garrett Buker said.
He also said his favorite part about school was recess. With the heavy smoke that looms over Jackson Street School and the rest of Siskiyou County, recess may be put on pause.
"I am concerned about that and hoping that maybe they'll stay inside when it's real smoky out," Baudek said.
“Sure I think we're probably pushing the 140 mark again maybe even higher. I didn't look today but you know you have to stay inside when it's too smoky. The school is pretty aware of the smoke index," said Garrett’s father, Bob Buker.
NewsWatch 12 spoke with the Yreka Union School District superintendent Dave Parsons about how the school district is going to handle school in the smoke.
“We have an air quality website through Siskiyou County and we’ll be watching them throughout the day to determine whether or not students will go outside. We’ll be monitoring it throughout the days. We also identify the students that have health issues such as asthma and make sure they have a place to be inside during lunch or recess,” Parsons wrote in a statement.